[Marxism] What is Israel's Goal?

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Tue Dec 30 18:32:48 MST 2008

By Neve Gordon 
The first bombardment took three minutes and 40 seconds. Sixty Israeli F-16  
fighter jets bombed 50 sites in Gaza, killing more than 200 Palestinians, and  
wounding close to 1,000 more.  
A few hours after the deadly strike, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  
convened a press conference in Tel-Aviv. With foreign minister Tzipi Livni  
sitting on his right and defence minister Ehud Barak on his left, he declared:  "It 
may take time, and each and every one of us must be patient so we can  
complete the mission." 
But what exactly, one might ask, is Israel's mission?  
Although Olmert did not say as much, the "mission" includes four distinct  
The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal. Even  
though the loss of hundreds of cadres and some key leaders will no doubt hurt  the 
organisation, Hamas is a robust political movement with widespread  
grassroots support, and it is unlikely to surrender or capitulate to Israeli  demands 
following a military assault. Ironically, Israel's attempt to destroy  Hamas 
using military force has always ended up strengthening the organisation,  thus 
corroborating the notion that power produces its own vulnerability.  
The second objective has to do with Israel's coming elections. The assault on 
 Gaza is also being carried out to help Kadima and Labour defeat Likud and 
its  leader Binyamin Netanyhu, who is currently ahead in the polls. It is not  
coincidental that Netanyahu's two main competitors, Livni and Barak, were  
invited to the press conference – since, after the assault, it will be more  
difficult for Netanyahu to characterise them as "soft" on the Palestinians.  
Whether or not the devastation in Gaza will help Livni defeat Netanyhu or help  
Barak gain votes in the February elections is difficult to say, but the strategy  
of competing with a warmonger like Netanyhu by beating the drums of war says a 
 great deal about all three major contenders. 
The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable  
humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking for  
opportunities to re-establish its global standing. Last spring it used Syria as  
its laboratory and now it has decided to focus on Gaza. Emphasising the mere  
three minutes and 40 seconds it took to bomb 50 sites is just one the ways the  
Israeli military aims to restore its international reputation.  
Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how to  
proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as president of the  
Palestinian National Authority on 9 January. One of the outcomes of this assault  is 
that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer since Hamas will be unable  
to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign. 
What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt  
to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel's southern towns. Unlike the  
objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this 
 one is presented by the government as the operation's primary objective. 
Yet,  the government is actively misleading the public, since Israel could have 
put an  end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed, there was relative quiet 
during the  six months truce with Hamas, a quiet that was broken most often as a 
reaction to  Israeli violence: that is, following the extra-judicial 
execution of a militant  or the imposition of a total blockade which prevented basic 
goods, like food  stuff and medicine, from entering the Gaza Strip. Rather than 
continuing the  truce, the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt 
strategies of  violence that are tragically akin to the one's deployed by 
Hamas, only the  Israeli ones are much more lethal.  
If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the country's  
long term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would abandon the 
use  of violence and talk with its enemies.  
-Neve Gordon is the author of Israel's Occupation, University of  California 
Press, 2008. Further information about the book and his other  writings can be 
found at _www.israelsoccupation.info_ (http://www.israelsoccupation.info/) .  
He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. (Originally published 
in  the UK/Guardian – guardian.co.uk, December 29, 2008) 
(http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14550) >
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